Only in Berlin: Covid-19 campaign gives middle finger to people who flout face mask rules

Only in Berlin: Covid-19 campaign gives middle finger to people who flout face mask rules
A passenger wearing a face mask in Berlin's Neukölln station. Photo: DPA
Authorities across Germany are urging people to take personal responsibility and follow the rules. As ever, Berlin is choosing a more provocative way.

In fact, they are choosing to send a strong message to people who don't wear masks when they are mandatory, such as in shops, on public transport and in office buildings.

The city's new #Berlingegencorona (Berlin against corona) campaign released by the Senate features an elderly woman wearing a mask with her middle finger raised to the camera.

“The middle finger is for everyone without a mask,” says the caption underneath, adding: “We comply with the corona rules.”

The capital of Germany is currently a coronavirus hotspot, with the district of Neukölln the worst spot in the country with 161.6 infections per 100,000 people in the last seven days.

The capital has introduced new measures to try and fight the second wave, including an 11pm curfew for shops, restaurants and bars.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: These are Berlin's new coronavirus restrictions

The new slogan is part of a joint campaign by the Berlin Senate Department for Economics and the tourism marketing company Visit Berlin.

Christian Tänzler, spokesman for Visit Berlin, said the ad was deliberately meant to make people sit up and notice.

The elderly woman, who belongs to a risk group in the pandemic because of her age is giving the finger because her health is at risk from those who do not follow the rules.

The aim of the ad is to attract attention. “And we succeeded,” said Tänzler. The advertisement first appeared in a Berlin daily newspaper on Tuesday, but the motif quickly spread on social media as well.

It is one of many in the campaign – several more should follow in the coming months, Tänzler said.

Senator for economic affairs Ramona Pop, of the Greens, presented the first posters in mid-September together with Visit Berlin boss Burkhard Kieker. At that time it was said  the aim was not to raise a middle finger but to promote compliance with the Corona rules with humour. Pop wore a face mask with the words “Mask on. Otherwise restaurant closed.”

However, the latest poster has not been welcomed by everyone. “Somehow, with the enforcement of the Corona regulations, it didn't really work out in Berlin. So the Senate is trying to insult the public,” wrote “Tagesspiegel” editor-in-chief Lorenz Maroldt on Twitter.

“This is not the way to promote understanding within a society divided by fear …” and “This current poster discriminates against and insults people in Berlin who do not have to wear a mask for health reasons,” he added in further tweets.


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  1. I guess Maroldt thinks that all the people breaking the rules, catching Corona Virus and transmitting it to other people should be gently sat down & given a good dose of understanding, because it is caused by some traumatic episode in their childhood (Maybe they didn’t get all the toys they asked for at Christmas)
    Or maybe it is just an attempt to sell more papersby pretending to care
    Either way, he should get that something radical needs doing.

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